Digital advertising picks up pace to near $13bn in 2021

The Australian online advertising market is nearing $13 billion in calendar year 2021, a 35.8% growth on the preceding year according to data from the IAB Australia Online Advertising Expenditure Report (OAER) prepared by PwC. It follows two years of slow growth for the industry, at 2.4% for 2020 and 5.6% growth for 2019.

Video advertising retains the crown for the format driving the most growth in the market, up 48% year-on-year to reach $2.88 billion. However, Classifieds which had been the hardest hit digital advertising revenue stream over the last couple of years, had a strong bounce back in 2021 increasing 41.5% compared to 2020 to reach $2.2 billion. General display advertising was up 38.2% to reach $5.1 billion, while search and directories increased 31.7% to reach $5.7 billion.

IAB Australia, CEO, Gai Le Roy, commented: “The exceptional growth in the Australian digital advertising market in 2021 has been driven by a combination of two key factors. Businesses have accelerated their digital transformation and investment over the last two years, but we’ve also seen a resurgence in marketing spend by businesses to drive economic growth as we exit COVID lockdowns and restrictions.”

Retail retained the number one advertiser category for the full year, representing 16.3% share of the general display market up from 15.6%. The auto category dropped back in share yet again to 10.7% from 12.9% in 2020, however there are indications of slightly stronger auto investment in early 2022.

Although the overall share of investment in content site inventory via programmatic didn’t experience a major change for 2021, with total programmatic spend stable at 42%, investment via programmatic guaranteed (PG) increased significantly, reaching 13% in 2021, up from 11% in 2020 and just 7% in 2019.

In last year’s December quarter,  online advertising revenue for the final quarter of the 2021 calendar increased 21.3% compared to the December quarter in 2020, to reach $3.58 billion.

Classifieds bounded back with an increase of 43.4% supported by a strong employment, real estate, and second-hand car market.

The general display market was worth $1.47 billion up 21.3% versus the comparative quarter in 2020. Video inventory represented 55% of all money invested in the general display category and was up 25% versus the December quarter in 2020.

Connected TV represented 43% of content publishers video investment followed by desktop on 32% and then mobile at 25%.

After a few false starts, travel industry ad spend picked up in the December quarter to reach 4.5%, almost doubling the share in Dec 2020, but still at half of the spend share it had in 2019.


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